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Welcome to the 24th edition of the Proto48 Modeler. It is mid summer and typically a slow time of the year for modeling. Now is a good time to start planning your projects for the fall and winter.

It has been a while since the website has been updated. We have a few new thing to offer you in this edition.

This website is the place to find out information on 1/4" scale products and modeling techniques. Proto48 is a subset of the larger O scale model railroad hobby. We build to exact scale standards for wheels and track gauge.

This e magazine is focused on standard gauge modeling. Proto48 defines a gauge and wheel profile for locomotives, cars and track but it also expresses a concept of finescale modeling. Our models start out with the correct gauge of 4' 8 1/2" and scale wheel profile and continue throughout the model to create an accurately scaled replica of the prototype.

Even a Lionel tank car can be upgraded to an accurate Proto48 model.

Quarter-inch scale offers railroad modelers a huge potential in terms of size and mass. It is big enough to permit the craftsman to accurately portray things like underbody details, doors, roof walks and ladders. Proto48 standard gauge modelers tend to strive for higher levels of detail and accuracy like their narrow gauge brethren.

Proto48 is more than just model making it covers the building of layouts and the inclusion of prototypical operations. There are an amazing number of P48 layouts being construction around the country. They range in size from switching layouts to large railroads with many hundred feet of scale track. Check out the layout page on the Protocraft website to see a few of the layouts built or being built.


If you don't have room or time to build a layout, you may be lucky enough to find some fellow modelers in your area that you can share your interest.

You will find a number of new items listed. We can always use more material that will permit more issues to be published each year. As always we are indebted to the modelers who take the time to send material to share with others. We hope that this spirit of sharing will continue allowing us to bring fresh material to the web so that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Lead Photo: The barge is owned by Norm Buckhart and is part of his massive Proto48 railroad in Sonoma, CA. The model was built for Norm by a friend. He enjoys ships as well as railroads.

Proto48 Blogs on the Web

Blogs are becoming a popular way to communicate with modelers of similar interests.   There have been a few blogs that have been going for some time and a new one or two.

George Losse has been running a website for some time that is informative and entertaining.  He travels to a lot of the O scale shows on the East Coast and provides a narrative and photos of his visits.   George will often get pictures of new products that are being shown.   You will find a number of helpful ideas and techniques as he builds his Reading Company Shamokin Division railroad in P48.

OST Blog

Mike Cougill is another blogger who provides an informative and useful discussion on modeling. You will find interesting material his current and past blogs.

Gene's P48 Blog
I decided to try a blog as a method of sharing my layout and model building experiences.  Layout building is new to me and the blog is a way of gathering information from other modelers.

Updates to the Site:

  • New products that are usable by Proto48

Industry News, Shows and New Products:

The latest information about new and interesting products that are useful the Proto48 modeler as shown below:

  • Railroad Model Craftsman has successfully transitioned to White River Publications. So far, the new RMC is an improvement in layout, content and appearance.
  • Weaver Models has ceased operations. Their Scale Coat paint line has been sold to Minuteman Scale Models in Pepperell, MA
  • Mullet River Model Works has decided to cease production of thier O scale kits. They will continue to sell off the inventory but no new projects or production will be undertaken.

Regional O Scale Shows with Proto48 Content:

O Scale West Convention
5-7 May 2016 Santa Clara, CA

O Scale West will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center as in previous years.You can obtain more information about the event at this site http://www.oscalewest.com

Chicago Midwest O Scale Meet
1-3 April 2016, Lombard, IL

The show is held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. The show has a huge selling floor, operating layouts including a Proto48 modular display. Visit their website for more details.

Each year, March Meet has a judged model contest which brings out some very nice models. This past year two Proto48 models took the first and second place in freight cars. First went to Jim Zwernemann with his Sands Springs boxcar and second to Robert Leners with his M&StL ARA boxcar.

Indianapolis O Scale Fall, Convention
11-12 September 2015
Wyndham Indianapolis West, West 2544 Executive Drive
This fall meet will be expanded to include the normal National O convention. James Canter will be heading up the show. If you live in the area, you should consider going.

Railroad Prototype Modelers (RPM):

Railroad Prototype Modeler meetings have become major events in the world of prototype modeling. For years, the Naperville, IL show provided a unique opportunity to take in multiple clinics and presentations, hundreds of fine models and lots of photo vendors and kit suppliers. The show changed location and moved to Lisle, IL.

You can now attend an excellent show in Coco Beach, FL in January, Collinsville, Illinois in August, Lisle, IL in October and the Western Prototype Meet in San Bernardino, CA in March. There additional shows in other parts of the country. You can visit the RPM website for the particulars.

These shows have been mostly HO and N but the shows are attended by a number of Proto48 modelers. The recent Collinsville show had a P48 meeting and nine P48 modelers attended.

Stocking Dealers:

Des Plaines Hobbies
1524 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

The shop moved to a new location in the same shopping center. The new store is even larger than the previous location. They stock 1/48 scale and building supplies.

Caboose Hobbies
500 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80209
Stocks San Juan trucks and wheels

Coronado Scale Models
1544 Cypress Street, Phoenix, AZ  85006
(602) 254-9656

This shop has served the needs of fine scale modelers for over 40 years. The owners are active scale modeler having produced some beautiful locomotives and cars. Their shop offers excellent mail order service and knowledgeable assistance. You might check out the Photo Gallery for some of Stan Schwedler's fine work.

Sources of Prototype Information:

Railway Prototype Cyclopedia
RP CYC Publications Co.
P.O. Box 451
Chesterfield, MO 63006

I need to correct my previous statement regarding the impending shutdown of RPC. Ed Hawkins stated that they are not stopping publications. Volume 30 has been delayed due to printer delays. The team of Ed Hawkins and Patrick Wider has decided to stop production of the important series of books. Volume 30 is expected in the Fall.

Steam Era Freight Cars

This website has been around for a while and recently taken over by Rob Adams. The original site was created by Ted Culotta but his Speedwitch business took off and allowed little time for the site. Rob is now updating the website with a new format and more useful information.

Supplier News:

American Switch & Signal
13052 Ratliff Run
Fishers, IN 46037-6266

John Pautz has added several new switch parts to his lineup within the past month. All of the parts are made from Right O' Way rail and are cast in nickel silver. He has a wide range of frogs, guard rails and points for popular rail sizes. See the latest brochure in the Suppliers section.

All of the parts are done to Proto48 track standards.

Link to PDF

Latest Catalog

O Scale Turnouts, INC
P.O. Box 8183052 Ratliff Run
Hamburg, MI 48139

O Scale Turnouts has been doing turnouts of standard O scale (5' gauge) for a while. They are now testing the market to see if modelers are interested in ready to install turnouts in P48. We received a sample of a Code 125 #8 turnout. The rail is nickel silver that is soldered to several PC board ties. The balance of ties are stained wood with the rail bonded using an epoxy adhesive. The key components used are from American Switch & Signal and are cast nickel silver. The sample turnout is in-gauge and flows nicely. It has gaps to isolate the frog for DCC operation.

This produce should start to fill a gap for those who want to use flex-track and pre-built turnouts. Please respond to O Scale Turnouts and support the product.

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts
P.O. Box 7
Bay View
Napier 4149, New Zealand

Buffalo Landing Detail Parts has been producing some very interesting detail sets for the 1/4” scale modeler.   They have focused on narrow gauge but most of their sets are directly applicable to standard gauge.  They several white metal figure sets and a 1937 Pontiac sedan cast in urethane.   The Proto48 Modeler recently received a sample of their figure sets and have to rate them very highly.  

Most of their product line can be obtained directly from New Zealand or from Coronado Scale Models in Phoenix.   

Burlington Roundhouse
Milepost 206 Publishing, Inc.
P.O. Box 543
West Burlington, IA 52655

A new firm has entered the O scale parts business.  Their first releases are very impressive with a variety of steam generator and metallic steam lines for first generation GP and SD locomotives. The parts are shown on CB&Q diesels but they would work for a wide range of prototype roads. 

Forsyth Rail Services
6331 State Route 2067
Susquehanna, PA 18847

Matt is a very talented builder in brass.  He has established an excellent reputation for loco conversions to Proto48 and for major rebuilding of imported brass.  His workmanship, painting and finishing is first rate.   Recently, Matt rebuilt a N&W K-1 from the ground up for the publisher of O Scale Trains.   Go to Matt’s website and enjoy his photo essay on the conversion. 

If you have a pet project that is in need of professional help, check out Matt. 


Archer Transfers
PO Box 1277
Youngsville, NC 27596

Archer Transfers has solved one of the more difficult problems in modeling steel equipment.   They have invented a process to deposit a 3D resin on Microscale clear decal film.   They have expanded their line to include various rivet patterns and sizes, safety tread material, fasteners, panel lines and even louvers.   The product is very useful not only to solve difficult fabrication projects but it also saves a lot of time.   The decal is cut out and applied to the model like a normal Microscale product.   We recommend you do not use any decal solvent until it is has evaporated all of the water and you are happy with the position.   Then you can apply the solvent around the edges.   The film will disappear.   The decals must be covered with paint since it will chip off otherwise.  

Rails Unlimited
126 Will Scarlet
Elgin, IL

Rails Unlimited purchased the old line of Chooch urethane kits that were sold to Berkshire Valley.   In addition, Rails Unlimited has released a new kit for a Lehigh Valley wood sheathed boxcar.   The patterns were done by Lee Turner.   The kit comes with a Duryea underframe found on the prototype cars.   Ted announced his latest urethane kit for the Northern Pacific 36' double sheathed boxcar.   He also releasing a series of 1932 ARA steel boxcars based upon the old Turner patterns.

Glacier Park Models
P.O. Box 244
Ukiah, CA 95482
707-391-4476 (voice), 707-463-6988 (fax)

The SP drop bottom kit is a reality after some twenty years of waiting and hoping. Glacier Park Models will start shipping the early in September. The price is $99.50 plus $8.00 shipping. I think you will agree the quality and accuracy of the kit is worth the wait and price.

Jimmy Booth has worked hard over the last year to get all of the parts to shoot the way they were intended. A number of new dies were done to fix design issues. New decals will be done by Protocraft using Rick Leach artwork.

Glacier Park has announced their latest ¼" scale project. They are planning to import a series of logging tank Mallets. The models will be detailed, painted and lettered for specific prototype locomotives. They will cover Clover Valley #4, Feather River #4 and four different Weyerhauser locos (#108, 110 and 111). The models are being built by Boo Rim and will be offered with P48 wheel conversion kits. Contact your dealer or GPM for details. Don't wait to the last minute since they are only building what is ordered. GPM locomotives sell out within the first month of arrival in the country.

See the following catalog pages for images of the prototypes:

Tank loco flyer page 1

Tank loco flyer page 2

Tank loco flyer page 3

O Scale Resource Magazine

Glenn Guerra and Dan Dawdy have launched a new online magazine called the O Scale Resource Magazine.   The first issue is now available on their website and is free.   Their first effort is well done and is a worthwhile read.    The magazine will be published bimonthly and be available online.   You can also sign up to receive a notification when the next issue is released.


Mullet River Model Works
118 Hudson Court, Plymouth, WI 53073

Mullet River Model Works has decided to close the business due to supplier issues. Glenn Guerra, the owner, turned 65 and decided to reduce his workload and focus on his magazine business.

OST Publications
PO Box 297, Richmond, Indiana 47375


Mike Cougill has a wonderful source of information on scale modeling. The OST Publications has developed into a excellent source of data on their website. He publishes a series of eBooks called the "Missing Conversation". They are worthy of your attention. Mike also conducts a blog with some fascinating topics. He will challenge you to think about what you are doing in the hobby.

RY Models
7 Edgedale Court
Wyomissing, PA 19610

RY Models is planning to import a series of Mather built freight cars. They are showing the stock car and single sheathed boxcars built by the Mather Company.

Visit their website to catch up on their new releases and pricing.

PO Box 21
Vineburg, CA 95487-0021
(707) 935-7011 (voice message)

Protocraft is about to introduce a series of new brass boxcars based on Great Northern prototypes. The cars are very accurate using actual car builder drawing and photos to create the models. The cars are 10’0” interior height and have v-groove and plywood siding with steel ends underframe and roofs. Protocraft has produced six different hand brake styles to accurately capture the prototype hardware configuration.

They continue to produce a wonderful array of decal sets for a wide variety of prototype cars and roads. As with all of their decals, they are printed by Microscale using original artwork based upon actual photos.

New Andrews 50-ton trucks are coming from Protocraft. The trucks are equipped with ball bearings and have opening journal lids. A few more surprises are coming soon so stay tuned.

RL Design
14123 206th St.
S.E., Snohomish, WA 98296-3947

Rick Leach has prepared a new decal set for Northern Pacific heavyweight passenger cars. The set covers Pullmans, coaches, baggage and RPO as well as express cars. In addition, Rick did the correct lettering for a number of the road's gas electrics like B-12/14 and later St. Louis-built cars. The lettering is an imitation gold and is specially blended to go over dark colors like Pullman Green. It will shift color to a deep yellow tone. The set is currently available direct at $20 for two sheets. Each set will do four cars. Only 25 sets were produced so don't think about it too long.

The decal art was directly traced from photos for each letter and number. It is the most accurate set available. Rick had them printed by San Juan Decals. The screen work is fantastic picking even the lightest line weights on the of characters. Next up from RL is the super Northern Pacific diesel set that covers all styles and type used by the NP.

Please note that Rick is now taking PayPal for payment as well as checks and money orders. Check out the catalog sheet for ordering information.


Red Cliff Miniatures
2166 Thomas Trail
Santa Clara, UT 84765


Red Cliff has new parts coming to market. The first is derail kit, switch stand (non operating) and a DVD on track and switch building. The DVD provides a clinic like the one Jim Harper presents at conventions.

The Red Cliff Miniatures website is easy to use and allows ecommerce transactions.

San Juan Car Company
P. O. Box 1028
Durango, Colorado 81302
Phone: 970-385-5256

The new San Juan Evolution Type-E coupler has arrived in the country. The coupler is near-perfect scale rendering of the prototype standard gauge coupler. They made a few minor compromises to allow for automatic magnetic uncoupling. The coupler has the identical shank to the older Type-E working coupler. The coupler is available in brown and black They retail for $6.95 for two pair fully assembled.

The new frameless UTLX standard gauge tank has arrived as well. They should be in the hands of dealers and via the San Juan website.

San Juan will release the Rio Grande Fowler clone and WP double sheathed boxcars in the near future. Some of the dies require some rework before complete kits can be reissued.

Scale Hardware
1736 NE 16 Street
Ft Lauderdale, FL 33304
(954) 609-4108

Scale Hardware offers a wide range of small details machined from brass that will become an indispensable part of your parts selection.   The offer scale machined rivets and simulated square nuts and hex nut along with bolts.   In addition, you will find a range of very small threaded bolts, nuts and taps.   The smallest threaded bolt listed is .5 mm which as a .020” threaded body.  

Southern Car and Foundry
970 Sunshine Land, Suite D
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

SC&F is getting back to the train business after a brisk year of commercial model building. The first new kit will be a Missouri Kansas and Texas singled sheathed boxcar. The latest kit features a one-piece body. Assembly involves detailing the urethane body and underframe. This includes all of the details but does require couplers, trucks and decals. The decals are available from Protocraft in either black or white lettering. The kit includes two types of door guides so any of the 95000 and 96000 series cars can be built. The prototype cars were painted in either chrome yellow with black lettering or freight car red with white lettering.

The model is currently available for $140 plus postage. Order direct from their website.      

Wild Swan Publications, LTD
1-3 Hagbourne Road
Didcot, Oxon  OX11 8DP

Wild Swan Publications has a wide range of books on English railroading.  Recently, the published two soft-bound books on Modeling Trees by Gordon Gravett.  The first part covers Broadleaf trees and second on Conifers.   The basic technique involves build an armature (trunk) of florist wire and covering it with a mixture of plaster and PVA glue.  The author has illustrated the book with many model and actual tree photos along with a number of very useful techniques.  

A third volume is about to be released.  The latest book by Gordon Gravett deals with modeling grasslands and landscape detailing.  I have not seen the book yet.

I first learned of the books through Trevor Marshall and his Port Rowan blog.  It is S scale but he is an entertaining author and shows many techniques for layout building that work in any scale.   Visit Trevor's blog and enjoy.  http://themodelrailwayshow.com/cn1950s/

You will also enjoy seeing Gordon Gravett's work on a 1:50 scale French meter gauge railway.  Everything is scratchbuilt.  Stunning work to say the least.


Chooch Enterprises Inc.
P.O. Box 1200, Maple Valley, WA 98038

Chooch Enterprises has created a new page for the O scale parts. It includes a different ordering method than in the past. They are a key supplier of critical detail parts for rolling stock both freight and passenger.  Mike O'Connell recently mentioned that he has recently restocked all of the parts listed on his website.    You find really accurate details for boxcars and reefers as well as rebuilt passenger cars. 

The parts can be ordered directly from the Chooch website.

Chooch offers the most complete set of wood and steel door hardware available in O Scale.  This includes the Camel #32 top and the Camel #50 bottom roller.

Steel freight cars used this type of bracketed grab iron.  The part is intended to upgrade Intermountain parts.

This ladder and stirrup set is designed as an upgrade to the Intermountain boxcar hardware but can be used on other models as well.


Updated August 14, 2015